"After successful collaborations with prestigious guests like Jim O´Rourke and Oren Ambarchi and the widely acclaimed Fire! Orchestra release earlier this year our Swedish friends are back as a trio, lighting up a sonic blaze of rock based riffs and hypnotic jazz-psychedelia. As far from noodling instrumentals as it’s possible to get, the tracks are spontaneously combusting rituals with a clear sense of purpose. Each of the three members is gifted with a formidable technique and arsenal of tricks and effects on their respective instruments, and the album also sees acclaimed saxophonist Mats Gustafsson boosting his already versatile skills, by swapping to Fender Rhodes and electronics on selected tracks. The oddly cut-up titles are lifted and inspired by Smog founder Bill Callahan’s letters to Emma Bowlcut, recently published in a volume by Chicago label Drag City. The strategy gives an insight into the broadminded frame of reference of this eclectic trio. With all three members pulling in elements from free jazz, ambient improvisation and electronic music, their music has reached a new confidence and intensity. "
"TAKING ADVANCE ORDERS
“We always start from zero when we make a new album. We enter the rehearsal room with a few loose ideas, a riff or a beat and see what happens. There is always the risk that it doesn’t work out. That risk is part of our music and of our lives.” - The Ex.
“The Ex released their previous regular studio album as a 4-piece (Catch My Shoe) in 2010. While that might seem like a long stretch, their schedule since then tells you another story. The band also released a second album with Ethiopian legend Getatchew Mekuria, and another one with Brass Unbound, featuring several of their friends from the realm of free improvisation. On top of that, there were also a few 7″split-singles, several phenomenal birthday festivals and a lavish photo book that was published as a tribute to the late Getatchew Mekuria in 2016. But now there’s new music. With the unmistakable “Ex energy”. The three-pronged guitar approach is still as exciting as ever, with the guitars of Andy Moor, Terrie Hessels and Arnold de Boer creating tense, interlocking webs of connections and drummer Katherina Bornefeld pushing the band with dancing, hypnotic patterns. - Guy Peters, Geraarsbergen, 2018 "
Mats Gustafsson With John Russell & Phil Minton
"Multi-reedist Mats Gustafsson explores unique environments in improvised music with two duos performed live at Cafe OTO, one duo per side, the first with free vocalist Phil Minton for understated gargling and instrumental aberrations; the second with guitarist John Russell."
A Family of Three (Band Photo)
"Alessandro Bosetti returns to Unsounds with Family of Three (Band Photo) : it is the fruit of urgency and sediment – a vibrant story bringing together sounds, images and texts that have emerged over time in Alessandro Bosetti’s imagination, in his life experience and through live concerts. Tangents, ideas and themes revolve around cautiousness, desire, Italy, ways of doing, uncertainty and longing."
A History of Nothing
Rodrigo Amado, Joe McPhee Kent Kessler & Chris Corsano
""A History of Nothing, [Amado's] debut on the Austrian Trost Records, features five improv-centric tunes authored and sculpted by the same quartet that made This Is Our Language (Not Two Records, 2012) a reference in the genre. Namely, Joe McPhee on soprano saxophone and pocket trumpet, Kent Kessler on double bass, and Chris Corsano on drums.
Amado’s quartet is in peak form, exerting another biting album that comprehends both volcanic and ruminative sonic layers. Just let the freedom touch you while enjoying this finely calibrated commotion." (Filipe Freitas) "
A Life is a Billion Heartbeats
Andy Moor & Yannis Kyriakides
"Recorded at STEIM, Zaal 100, Jottem Studios between 2011-2014. Mixed and mastered by Yannis and Andy Artwork by Isabelle Vigier Andy Moor - electric guitar & baritone guitar Yannis Kyriakides - computer & analogue synths "
A Map of Guilt
Mats Gustafsson & Joachim Nordwall
"The duo was recorded at the Viennese Garnison7 studio on January 2013. The short opening piece, "The smell on her arms", sets the album eccentric atmosphere. It features Gustafsson breathing into the baritone sax and adds percussive touches with the sax keys while Nordwall colors the piece with subtle electronics sounds. The title piece is a 19-minutes atmospheric drone that offers waves and whirlwinds of troubled, distorted sounds, The other shorter pieces continue this minimalist-psychedelic vein but with more concrete and tangible, raw breathes through the sax and touches on the guitar strings, still maintain the basic, naked vibe of the opening piece. Only the last piece, "Marks covered by wet cloth", is charged with a noisy urgency, much needed intense energy and even traces of fragmented, tortured melody."
"If you count The Thing’s collaborations with Joe McPhee, James Blood Ulmer, Ken Vandermark, Neneh Cherry, Barry Guy, Otomo Yoshihide, Jim O’Rourke, Thurston Moore and DKV Trio too, Again is their 20th album (including the compilation Now and Forever and the split album The Music of Norman Howard with School Days, another Gustafsson project). Literally speaking, The Thing have done it again. After 17 years in the same line-up (Mats Gustafsson on saxes, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten on acoustic and electric bass and Paal Nilssen-Love on drums) you might think that the band’s music has become predictable, that their mélange of free jazz, blues, rock and noise is actually a cul-de-sac because the musical options are exhausted. However, it isn’t. Though Again is the well-proved mixture of cover versions and original compositions, this time the focus is rather on jazz. The only cover, Decision in Paradise, is an old, rather conventional Frank Lowe piece. The Thing turn the tempo down considerably and a trumpet provided by Joe McPhee, the guest star on this track, transforms the falling lines of the original’s opening passage into painfully bruised sounds before Gustafsson strips the delicate melody to the bone (doing this, it reminds me of Gershwin’s “Summertime“). Bass, trumpet and saxophone dance around each other in slow motion and only after four minutes Nilssen-Love enters the game in order to give the piece more drive and tension. It’s the band’s typical way to take possession of a composition which is not their own. - Martin Schray (Free Jazz Blog) Full review here: www.freejazzblog.org/2018/06/the-thing-again-trost-records-2018.html "
An International Report
"Like a prize fighter, the ensemble moves with all the nimble dexterity of a small group when needed, bobbing and weaving until an opening presents itself, delivering precise jabs or opening out to rain down a concentrated torrent of blows. Hailing from a city which has had a hand in producing some top class large ensembles in recent years, Audio One is instantly a contender to the throne (Matthew Grigg, The Free Jazz Collective)"
"It’s not the first time we find Scandinavian and American musicians playing together – some of the bands founded by Ken Vandermark have this characteristic –, but Starlite Motel comes with a different focus than the ones trying to reconnect the techniques and aesthetics of improvisation developed in Europe with its jazz roots in the United States. In “Awosting Falls”, non-idiomatic and idiomatic improv meets with… psychedelic rock. Those procedures and styles are very well known by the mastermind of this new enterprise: Gard Nilssen, the Norwegian drummer of the rock-oriented, electric bands Puma and Bushman’s Revenge, but also of hardcore post- free jazz groups like Acoustic Unity and Cortex. His Nordic companions are also familiar with it, namely saxophonist Kristoffer Berre Alberts, who brought jazz to noise domains with partners like Lasse Marhaug and Maja Ratkje, and bassist Ingebrigt Haaker Flaten (now living in Texas, by the way), a member of the free jazz / free rock band The Thing and leader of the metal / hip-hop / jazz combo The Young Mothers. The American in the quartet is Jamie Saft, one of the most permanent of John Zorn’s collaborators, part of Electric Masada and also the author of “Trouble: The Jamie Saft Trio Plays Bob Dylan” and leader of a band including the jazz mainstream bassist Steve Swallow, The New Standard. The music is puzzling and sensuous, cosmic and groovy at the same time. Now you can dream with a beat."
James Blood Ulmer and The Thing
"This is not a James Blood Ulmer album. This is not a The Thing Album. If that’s only what you’re after I can highly recommend the magnificent Blood’ album ‘Tales of Captain Black’ from 1979, or The Thing’s ‘BOOT! from 2013. Furthermore, one simply cannot say what James Blood Ulmer is, as far as genres go. Is he jazz? Is he funk? Is he rock or blues? Is he ‘someone-who-took-Jimi-Hendrix-playing-to-the-next-level’? I’m just going to leave it at this: he’s James Blood Ulmer. He’s a living legend as far as breaking boundaries in cross-genre guitar playing goes. - Gustav Lindqvist"
"Bengt is a solo recording by Mats Gustafsson and is dedicated to Bengt Nordström. Mats Gustafsson plays a plastic alto sax. A classic Grafton sax. The type of sax that was used by Charlie Parker, Ornette Coleman and Bengt Nordström. Nordström is best known having produced Albert Ayler´s first recording Something Different!!!!!! on his Bird Note imprint. It is in his own role as a sax player Bengt was truly inventive. Bengt was playing solo sax improvisation already in 1962 (!!!) Nordström mentored Swedish reedman Mats Gustafsson in addition to playing in a quartet with drummer Peter Uuskyla, bassist Bjorn Ålke, and violinist Lars Svantesson. Nordström died in 2000 at age 63. Bengt is a celebration of the music and the man behind it. On this record you might not hear the Gustafsson you are used to, but this is the real Mats. "
""Melaku Belay of Fendika runs an amazing club in Addis Ababa. Over the years the Ex/Terp has spent many nights there and saw a lot of incredible music and dance -- an Azmari-bet new style, with new ways of running the place and taking care of the artists, but still keeping all focus on the creativity and social function of a cultural bar. Melaku likes to call the music 'Addis Tradition,' which means 'new tradition.' One can feel the strong, traditional Ethiopian tunes, deeply rooted in the culture of many regions, but also sense a new generation of great dancers and musicians. Fendika are extremely talented and groundbreaking in their technique and approach. Since being discovered, they have been over to Europe, playing several tours and Ex Festivals, being on the road with the Ex and even playing a set together! Terp is happy to make this great acoustic recording and release it, with the input of many. Andy Moor's great photos, Emma Fischer's artwork and Arnold de Boer's mixing and fixing in particular.""
Black Magic Man
"Although this is completely different music than “Nation Time” because McPhee wanted to add some freer elements, the band is the same: Mike Kull (p), Tyrone Crabb (b), Bruce Thompson (perc) and Ernest Bostic (dr). The album starts with the title track, and before Kull and Crabb join in McPhee and Bostic fight a real battle, they keep attacking each other, and then the whole track goes totally mad – best classical free jazz at the height of its time. But the central piece is “Song for Lauren”, a hymn-like, highly spiritual composition somewhere between Coltrane, Sanders and Ayler – and one of McPhee’s most heartfelt ones. (Martin Schray, The Free Jazz Collective)"